Sat, May 21, 2005 - Page 3 News List

PFP lawmaker looks ready to return to KMT

By Caroline Hong  /  STAFF REPORTER , WITH CNA

Former People First Party (PFP) Legislator Lee Ching-hua (李慶華) paid a visit to Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Chairman Lien Chan (連戰) yesterday to discuss his possible return to the KMT, while fellow estranged Legislator Chiu Yi (邱毅) appears to be prepared to leave the PFP.

Speaking at the KMT's headquarters after meeting with Lien, Lee said Lien had welcomed him back to the KMT.

"Chairman Lien has been paying close attention to me recently, and in our conversation, he also said that he welcomes me back to the KMT," Lee said.

Given that Lien's offer seemed heartfelt and that a large number of his supporters have expressed a wish to see him back in the KMT, Lee said he would consider his options and make a decision soon.

Lee left the KMT 12 years ago to be one of the founding members of the New Party. He later joined the PFP.

Despite his departure, Lee said his sister, PFP Legislator Diane Lee (李慶安), wishes to remain in the PFP and he respected that.

Diane Lee said yesterday that she plans to remain in the PFP and she wishes her brother well should he return to the KMT.

"To say that someone has changed, one needs to look at whether or not his principles have changed and not whether he has changed the party that he is in," she said in response to queries about her brother's political journey from one party to another.

The Lien meeting clarified some of the questions raised by Lee Ching-hua's departure from the PFP on Wednesday.

He announced his departure by saying that he was unhappy with the PFP's political direction. His departure came after rumors of conflict between him and the party over the PFP's dismal performance in last Saturday's National Assembly elections.

The PFP secured only 18 of the 40 seats it had targeted, leading Lee and several other legislators to openly criticize the party's leadership. They said it had been a mistake to have been friendly with the Democratic Progressive Party.

Adding to the PFP's troubles, media rumors yesterday had the party's holding a meeting to decide whether or not to discipline Chiu for criticizing the party.

Since Saturday, Chiu has said that he plans to leave the party and may form a new party.

Chiu said yesterday that he has already made his decision but is not yet ready to say what it is. He said he will make an announcement on Monday.

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